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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Print, Mail & Envelopes in the New Century

Posted by Jerry Velona on Sep 16, 2016 3:20:45 PM

Ask most anyone these days in the print, mail or envelope industry about the current state and future of mail and you’ll generally get an answer that’s hopeful but cautious.  The great digital disruption of the last 25 years or so has caused an irrevocable change in printed communication.  Those of us who’ve seen these changes as they’ve occurred are naturally wary about what is to come.  It hasn't always been pretty!

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On the one hand mergers and acquisitions continue apace with smaller, less capitalized companies unable to profit in the new landscape and selling out (if they’re lucky) to larger firms more able to diversify and adapt to changing market conditions. Obviously, creative destruction is part of every sector of the economy and generally indicates overall health in the market. But it does seem that there’s more of it going on in our industries of late and it’s been accelerated by the ubiquity of smart phones among other things. Not a week goes by when we don’t receive some notice of an equipment auction. Used envelope and printing equipment has never been less expensive and more available. That’s a tangible sign of over-capacity due to a still-shrinking market.

However on the other hand direct mail is certainly coming back with a vengeance.  After a relatively brief flirtation with relying exclusively on digital-based marketing, fund-raising companies as well as colleges and other large institutions are coming back to mail solicitations because they achieve better results even with the added costs of printing, envelopes and postage.  And at Elite Envelope, we have seen a significant increase in new customers comprised of small start-ups ranging from print brokers, consultants, marketing agencies, and craftspeople making a high value product that needs to be mailed in a printed bubble envelope or promoted with a full-color package including a window envelope and reply envelope.

We speak to customers every week who are changing their business around; getting into providing new services and products to customers in order to capture more of their business. And far from being the bane of our existence, technology is enabling us to work smarter with more information at our fingertips and marketing software and website apps which allow a one-person marketing “department” to reach thousands (or millions) of potential customers with a few clicks.

It might sound contradictory for companies in the print communication business to use website and e mail to such an extent to promote their wares but it’s really not.  It’s all part of the grand, shaking-out and reorganizing that’s going on not just in our industries but in just about every business across the entire economy.  And what we’re finding is that print and mail is settling in to have its place in the mix of ways people communicate, sell and solicit.   It’s up to us to increase the value of what we provide and hopefully our share of the market.

Topics: elite envelope, declining mail volume, envelopes and printing, envelope industry, printed bubble mailers

Printed Bubble Envelopes at Elite Envelope

Posted by Jerry Velona on Apr 26, 2016 1:55:44 PM

Who knew that bubble wrap would have such an interesting backstory?

According to Wikipedia, Bubble wrap was invented in 1957 by two engineers named Alfred Fielding and Marc Chavannes in Hawthorne, New Jersey. Initially, Fielding and Chavannes sealed two shower curtains together, creating some air bubbles, which they originally tried to sell as wallpaper(!).  Predictably, the wallpaper market did not prove very fruitful.  They then tried marketing it as greenhouse insulation with similar lack of success.

Although Bubble Wrap was branded by Sealed Air Corporation (founded by Fielding and Chavannes) in 1960, it was not until a year later that its use in protective packaging was discovered.  As a packaging material, Bubble Wrap's first client was IBM which used the product to protect one of its large, mainframe computers during shipment.  Fielding and Chavannes were inducted into the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame in 1993 and why not?  Their invention became one of the most useful products in its era.

Eventually Sealed Air figured out a way to line envelopes with its bubble product at which time the bubble envelope or bubble mailer was conceived.  I don’t have any hard numbers on this but I’m guessing that bubble envelopes reached a peak in popularity during the halcyon days of compact discs. There was/is really nothing better in which to mail a CD than a bubble envelope. CDs are not as popular as they once were but bubble envelopes seem to be increasing in popularity from the plethora of small internet companies selling products that require some modest protection when shipping.

Elite Envelope gets a lot of hits on its website from small entrepreneurs who require bubble envelopes. Most of them want printing on the envelopes. A fair number want full coverage printing on the front and back.  This is almost impossible to find in the market for the simple reason that bubble envelopes cannot feed through a four color press. A few years ago we responded with our “Smart Bubble” product. By using a removable bubble sleeve, we are able to print pretty much any type of coverage on a paper, Tyvek or Herculink envelope first and then insert the bubble sleeve.  The protection is exactly the same and it has the added benefit of allowing the bubble sleeve itself to be reused or recycled rather than thrown in the trash with the envelope – hence the “Smart” part.

We’ve had some success with this product but recently, our engineers, actually one of our highly capable staff members Chris Gorman, devised a way to print pre made bubble envelopes by changing the configuration of one of our old presses (talk about recycling!).  Chris is our lead pressman and floor manager for our printing department. He’s forgotten more about printing envelopes than I’ll ever know. We’ve printed these envelopes below on our “bubble press” and the quality is excellent.

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Because printed bubble envelopes and printed bubble mailers are not easy to produce, there are not many sources which, predictably, makes them more expensive with less order flexibility (Not to mention long waits for quotes and deliveries).  Many times a customer will face a 5,000 minimum on a printed item.  That’s usually a lot more than your typical small business can justify.  With Elite, you can order as few as you want.  There will be a minimum set-up charge but we’ll be happy to print as few as 500 for you.  We’ll also deliver in our usual 5-7 work days or sooner depending on when we get the order.

So for pre-made bubble envelopes printed one or two colors up to around 9 x 12 overall size or pretty much any size envelope printed up to four colors with a “Smart Bubble” insert, we’re here to help!

Topics: elite envelope, smart bubble envelopes, printed bubble envelopes, printed bubble mailers

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!

 

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